Flora of the Southeastern United States
2022 Edition


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Key to Euphorbia, Key C: subgenus Chamaesyce, section Alectoroctonum {add to Key C: E. graminea}

1 Upper stem leaves and/or dichasial bracts with white margins or entirely white; [alien, cultivated and rarely persisting or a waif]
..2 Upper dichasial bracts partly or entirely white; leaf surfaces strigillose
..2 Upper leaves and dichasial bracts with white margins; leaf surfaces glabrous
1 Upper stem leaves and bracteal leaves entirely green, obovate, elliptic, narrowly elliptic, or oblanceolate; [native].
....3 Petaloid appendages (0.5-) 1.0-4.4 mm long (measured along a radius), about as long as wide or longer, white; stems 1.4-9 (-11) dm tall, erect or ascending.
......4 Leaves broad, < 5.5× as long as wide; leaf blades slightly revolute or planar; glands green.
........5 Petioles 5-11 mm long; leaves with ciliate margins; cyathia across the appendages ca. 2.5 mm; nodes 7-11 below the umbels; [shady, mesic hardwood forest over limestone or in sand over limestone]
........5 Petioles 0-3 (-10) mm long; leaves without ciliate margins; cyathia across the appendages (3.5-) 4–8 (-11) mm; nodes 20-75 nodes below the umbels; [habitats various, generally open, drier, and acidic, e.g., pine woods, sandhills, sandstone, ruderal sites]
..........6 Plants (2-) 4-9 (-1.3) dm tall; aerial stems multiple, (1-) 3-10 stems from a crown, each (1.2-) 2.5-5 (-7) mm in diameter at the base; leaves ascending, leathery, sessile; primary bracts smaller than stem leaves; petaloid appendages oblong or spatulate, 2.5-4.4 mm long; seeds 2.6-3.2 mm long; [NH and MA west to s. ON, MI, WI, MN, and NE, south to se.VA, c. NC, n. GA, s. AL, and e. TX]
..........6 Plants 35-65 cm tall; aerial stems 1 (-3) from a crown, each 1.0-2.2 mm in diameter at the base; leaves usually reflexed, thin, petiolate or subpetiolate; primary bracts similar to stem leaves in size; petaloid appendages orbicular or oval, 0.9-2.2 mm long; seeds 1.8-2.3 mm long; [c. MD, VA, and c. and sw. TN, south to Panhandle FL and s. MS]
......4 Leaves linear, > 8× as long as wide); leaf blades conspicuously revolute or involute; glands green or dark purple.
............ 7 Main stem not branching at base, erect or ascending, usually densely pubescent, dark grey or green; leaves not succulent, revolute, petiolate; stipules obsolete; glands green or rarely purple; petaloid appendages entire; [e. and c. GA (or e. SC?) south and west to Panhandle FL and e. TX]
............ 7 Main stem branching at base, ascending or spreading, glabrous, green or greenish purple; leaves succulent, involute, sessile or short petiole; stipules present and glandular; glands purple; petaloid appendages deeply crenate; [c. and s. peninsular FL]
....3 Petaloid appendages 0.05-0.6 mm long (measured along a radius), shorter than wide, green, red, white, or pink; stems (0.8-) 1.5-4.5 (-6) dm tall, erect, ascending or decumbent; leaves ciliate-margined (E. mercurialina and E. curtisii) or not.
............ ..8 Leaf margins ciliate; cyathia 3.5-5.9 mm wide (across the appendages), green; leaves not fleshy, 1.7-2.2 (-3)× as long as wide, not especially variable; [of mesic forests with rich soils]
............ ..8 Leaf margins not ciliate (except some marginal hairs in E. curtisii); cyathia 2.0-3.4 mm wide (across the appendages), green or maroon; leaves slightly to strongly fleshy, 0.7-20× as long as wide, often very variable in shape, even on the same plant; [of more or less xeric sandhill woodlands with acidic, sandy soils].
............ ....9 Stems usually 10-18 per crown, decumbent to weakly ascending; leaves opposite (scales on the lower stem sometimes alternate), fleshy, blue-green with a narrow, thickened, red-hyaline margin; branching dichotomous from the base of the plant (the branches typically equal, though sometimes unequal)
............ ....9 Stems 1-4 (-9) per crown, erect to strongly ascending; leaves alternate, opposite, or in whorls of 3 (at least some alternate on a plant), less fleshy, green to blue-green, without a red margin (or with a very narrow, slightly red-hyaline, but not thickened margin in E. exserta); branching alternate below the inflorescence (rarely dichotomous or trichotomous), the branches typically unequal.
............ ......10 Cyathia and capsules green; petaloid appendages white or pink; leaves thin-textured, green, finely pubescent with appressed white hairs (0.1-0.3 mm long) on the lower surface and margins (visible at 10× or greater); branching primarily alternate; leaves primarily alternate (typically opposite or 3-whorled below the inflorescence); cyathia unisexual, plants usually unisexual (dioecious)
............ ......10 Cyathia and capsules maroon; petaloid appendages maroon-red; leaves slightly fleshy, somewhat blue-green, glabrous; branching primarily opposite; leaves primarily opposite (usually some alternate on upper branches); cyathia bisexual, plants bisexual